Football League delays decision over Massimo Cellino’s takeover of Leeds

• Governing body expected to await outcome of tax evasion trial
• Managing director says 'no chance' of entering administration

The Football League has delayed its decision whether to ratify Massimo Cellino's takeover of Leeds United after holding meetings on Thursday and is now expected to wait for the outcome of his tax evasion trial in Italy.

Cellino is in court in Sardinia on Tuesday regarding non-payment of import duty on a yacht and is facing a €1.165m fine if found guilty. The Italian has been under investigation by the governing body since the announcement of his proposed takeover through his holding company Eleonora Sports, with the League investigating whether he passes their "fit and proper persons" test.

That prohibits people with unspent convictions for dishonesty offences from being directors, 30% owners or from exercising control over one of its clubs.

However with Cellino's court case still pending, a statement from the League admitted the decision will now not be taken "in the next 10 days".

"At its meeting today, the Board of The Football League gave detailed consideration to the proposed takeover of Leeds United by Eleonora Sport Limited," read the statement.

"The Board discussed the eligibility of the proposed purchasers under the Owners' and Directors' Test and examined evidence of both the source and sufficiency of funding. The majority of outstanding issues have now been resolved to The League's satisfaction and the Board anticipates receiving further information on the remaining issues, from the representatives of Eleonora, in the next week.

"The Board recognises the pressing need to resolve the matter and to provide certainty to all parties. It therefore anticipates being able to reach a conclusion in the next ten days.

Cellino has paid the club's wages and funded their debts over the past two months yet has become increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress made by the Football League and the current owners, GFH Capital, during takeover talks in recent weeks. The Italian, who has owned the Serie A club Cagliari for the past 22 years, admitted earlier this week that he has been "humiliated" by his treatment since the takeover was announced and vowed to walk away if he doesn't pass the League's test.

"At this point I wonder why I have been treated so badly after paying the salaries and debts over the past two months," he told the Guardian. "I will wait until a decision by the League. If I am not accepted, I will go away silently like I came. I am too old to fight wars which are not mine."

The statement comes after Leeds' managing director David Haigh insisted there was "no chance" of the club going into administration without Cellino's money.

He told the Yorkshire Post: "The club is in good hands. It has money and there is no chance of the club going into administration. None whatsoever.

"I keep hearing these whispers, where people have put two and two together to make 550. We had a winding-up order recently, which caused fans to panic.

"But the club is not in any kind of precarious financial position. Either now or in the future. It is not true and never has been.

"As a director of a company, there is a test of solvency that you have to go through. Can the company meet its debts, as and when they fall? And yes, Leeds United can." © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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